Taking drugs to fight anxiety or insomnia could significantly increase people's risk of death. Researchers from the Universite Laval in Quebec analysed 12 years of data on over 14,000 Canadians from the National Population Health Survey. They found that respondents who said they had used drugs to treat insomnia or anxiety at least once in the month before the survey had a mortality rate about 50% higher than those who did not use them. After allowing for alcohol and tobacco consumption, physical health, exercise and depression the researchers concluded that the drugs were associated with a 36% increase in the risk of death. The increased risk of death could be due to a number of causes including: the drugs' effect on reaction times, alertness and concentration leading to more falls and accidents; their effect on people's breathing particularly during sleep and a possible increased risk of suicide after taking the drugs.
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